Pressing demands



  • I was at a manufacturing customer site this week gathering requirements for a large project that involves both fixup-the-exisiting-system as well as new functionality. One of the many screw ups in the existing system relates to operators having to push a physical button on production/manufacturing equipment to signal the end of a run to the production equpment and then go to a small terminal (30 or 40 feet away) and press a button in a window to tell the corporate tracking system that the run had finished. This causes no end of problems from people pushing one button but not the other, to pushing both buttons but with a huge delay in between so there is a discrepancy between how big the production and tracking systems think the production run was. Having 2 buttons is a WTF in itself, but nothing we can do anything about as the tracking system is SAP and there is no integrated link between the two systems, and such a link is out of scope - and probably big $$$$. (There is a link from SAP to the production system for basic order information - but that is via a manually exported-imported flat file). When we got a plant tour I was looking at the physical layout for no more than 5 minutes when I suggested "Why don't you move the physical button next to the SAP terminal?". The customer seemed like he thought this was the best idea since sliced bread. And to me that is the WTF, as this system had been like this for several years and to me the pragmatic solution was so simple and would take a good electrician a very small amount of time to rectify.

    On a side note, the hotel room I stayed in was large enough to have a couple of sprinkler heads in the room. Next to each head was a small sign that said "Hanging coat hangers on the sprinkler heads could cause flooding".



  • @OzPeter said:

    On a side note, the hotel room I stayed in was large enough to have a couple of sprinkler heads in the room. Next to each head was a small sign that said "Hanging coat hangers on the sprinkler heads could cause flooding".
     

    So you should hang a (full) garment bag there, then sue them for emotional distress caused by the ensuing flooding. I mean, after alll, they didn't say "Hanging garment bags on the sprinkler heads could cause flooding." 



  • This sounds rather similar to a place I know...

     TRWTF is SAP - they 'customise' it for the company, but then dont let the company interface with it in any way programmatically (not even read access). As a result you get these stupid workflows which typically involve manually dumping a set of fixed width column text files from SAP, importing them into Access using self-written "parsers", manipulating the data, saving it back out and then re-importing into SAP or whatever other system. The man-hours required for this manual process (and maintaining the VBA code etc) is ridiculous and completely unnecessary. The WTF is then that critical business operations and reporting etc all becomes dependant on a huge Access mess as well as the few people who know how to operate it...



  • @dr spock said:

    As a result you get these stupid workflows which typically involve manually dumping a set of fixed width column text files from SAP, importing them into Access using self-written "parsers", manipulating the data, saving it back out and then re-importing into SAP or whatever other system.
    From what I saw the data was exported from SAP (in plain text?), read into Monarch, massaged through a pre-built filter, manually exported as CSV and then manually dragged to a specific folder that automatically sucked in the CSV file. I suggested that everything after the SAP export does not have to be manually done, but I actually thought people didn't understand what I was saying!



  • @dr spock said:

    TRWTF is SAP - they 'customise' it for the company, but then dont let the company interface with it in any way programmatically (not even read access)
    Eh? While I agree SAP is a huge WTF, I have to stop you at the programmatic interface. One of team's core duty is interfacing with the beast. RFCs! RSPs! BAPIs! IDocs! I've personally built RSPs in Java, the SAP JCo API is surprisingly easy to use. Why are you guys shoving flat files around?


    ([i]Edit[/i]: good story though)



  • @Xyro said:

    Why are you guys shoving flat files around?
    I have no idea why flat files are/were involved. Personally I have never dealt with SAP before so I have no idea how hard/easy it is to get at reports without manual intervention. I do know that running a whole manual transformation and push into the systems I do deal with is a huge WTF. I can only assume that the people who built the system were clueless morons (and I have seen evidence of that elsewhere)


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